That is why more and more men are suffering from eating disorders and exercise bulimia

M agersucht and bulimia only affect women? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that. Meanwhile, more and more men are suffering from eating disorders: Between 2008 and 2018, there were 96 percent more men over 40 who were treated for an eating disorder, according to a study by the commercial health insurance company in Hanover. Even among 12 to 17 year old boys there was a 60 percent increase. Eating disorders have long ceased to be seen as a purely women’s problem – and perhaps never have been.

Why is the number of men with an eating disorder increasing?

“It is difficult to say whether men are now being treated more often or whether it simply affects more men,” says Prof. Thomas J. Huber, chief physician at the Klinik am Korso , which specializes exclusively in the treatment of eating disorders. Probably both are true. On the one hand, the pressure on men to have a muscular, aesthetic body has increased. On the other hand, more men can now be treated – similar to other mental illnesses. Nevertheless, many affected men still do not seek treatment or do so late because they are ashamed. “Some people affected do not even know at first that they have an eating disorder. Often it is others who recognize a disordered eating behavior,” says Huber.

Which eating disorders do men suffer most often?

“In men, binge eating is the most common eating disorder,” says the expert. Those affected suffer from repeated binge eating. Sure, occasional food cravings are probably familiar to everyone. When binge eating, however, these attacks occur too often – about twice a week. People who suffer from the disorder eat significantly more and even lose control over what they ingest. In addition, those affected do not take any measures such as exercise or change their diet. The common consequence: obesity.

“More men are now also suffering from anorexia and bulimia, although significantly more women are still affected,” says Huber. Anorexia, or anorexia, makes you very afraid of getting fat. Body weight plays a decisive role in self-esteem: those affected starve to reach their very low weight threshold. 90 percent of the sick are girls and young women, 10 percent are men.

Bulimia counts as a variant of anorexia: Do you eat tons of food in a short time? Do you then often vomit for fear of getting fat? Do you take laxatives regularly? Or do you do too much exercise to stay thin and keep losing weight? These can all be signs of bulimia. Sick people often appear self-confident in public – and they usually have their eating behavior under control in front of others. But the binge eating, followed by the measures not to gain weight, are acted out secretly.

Why do eating disorders often go hand in hand with sports addiction?

One form of bulimia is called sports bulimia , which also affects many men. Sports addiction is combined with bulimia. Those who suffer from it have unhealthy sports behavior. This is shown, among other things, by the fact that sport is practiced out of compulsion – and one is very dissatisfied if one does not go to the gym or go jogging. Many affected men also do sports when they are sick or have injuries and should actually take it easy. The tricky thing about the disease: “Those affected are not always unhappy with their sports bulimia and often do not notice that their sports behavior is unhealthy,” says Huber. “But experience has shown that at some point this will tip over: For example, if you are injured or if you fail to achieve success.”

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